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Do I Qualify for Alimony?

There is no requirement that a spouse receives alimony in a Virginia divorce, and in many divorces, neither spouse does. In fact, alimony – also called spousal support – is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about if you will be able to support yourself once it’s finalized, it’s time to consult with a dedicated Virginia divorce attorney with considerable experience successfully securing alimony for clients in need. 

Alimony is Available Only When Necessary

In Virginia, alimony is awarded only when it is deemed financially necessary by the court. Two of the primary factors that help make this determination include the length of your marriage (the longer your marriage, the more likely you are to receive alimony – if other relevant factors apply) and the presence of a significant gap between your income and your divorcing spouse’s. Other factors that can also play a role include:

  • The standard of living you maintained while married.
  • You and your spouse’s ages and your physical and mental health
  • Any special mitigating circumstances that apply
  • Whether there is any reason that you cannot work (such as staying home to care for a child with significant special needs)
  • The contributions (financial and otherwise) that each of you made to the family throughout the marriage (including taking care of the home and children)
  • How your marital property is divided upon divorce and any separate property owned by either of you
  • Your earning potential in relation to your soon-to-be ex’s, including the job skills, education, and job training you both possess and the employment opportunities available to each of you
  • The length of time, the cost, and your ability to obtain the education and/or job training necessary for you to become more financially independent
  • Your contributions to your spouse’s career that affected your own (such as working to support his or her higher education – at the expense of your own)
  • Any other factors that the court deems relevant to your alimony request, including the tax implications of your divorce terms

The more factors that increase the financial divide between you and your divorcing spouse in your case, the more likely the judge is to rule in your favor. These factors also guide the duration and amount of alimony when it is granted. 

Fault and Your Divorce

A special note should be made about fault-based divorces in Virginia. While the vast majority of divorces in the state are no-fault, some are based on fault. If your divorce is based on your spouse’s adultery, it can be taken into consideration regarding your alimony award. If your divorce, however, is predicated on your own adultery, you won’t be eligible for alimony. 

You Need an Experienced Virginia Divorce Attorney in Your Corner

The capable Virginia divorce attorneys at Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC, take great pride in their proven ability to help clients like you prevail with alimony that supports their financial rights. We’re here for you, too, so please reach out and contact us for more information today.